Everyone asks "Where do the locals hang out?" Here are some of the favourite places that my family and I love to frequent in the Vail Valley, both within and beyond the villages.
1. E-Town (Edwards)
E-Town is packed year-round. It's a favorite that survives seasonal overcrowding by being down-valley a fews miles from Vail and Beaver Creek. It's a great collection of upscale pub grub, a daily entree special, a decent beer list, and just enough TV screens to enjoy a game without feeling like a sports bar.
2. Minturn Saloon (MINTURN)
I can't say we go here often, but we enjoy it every time, especially when we have a friend in town or I'm taking a guest out to dinner. The atmosphere itself is worth the visit, but the mexican influenced menu and margaritas are good. The place has been around, in one form or another, for decades and ownership has been passed through a wide range of characters. It's been listed as one of the best hidden bars in the U.S. The walls are decorated with memorabilia from visitors that range from John Wayne to Astronauts.
3. Northside CaFe (Avon)
Donuts with maple frosting and bacon? You bet! Breakfast burritos than can feed three? Yep! Baristas that know their way around a cup-a-joe? Of course! The Northside Cafe is busy year-round and on weekend mornings can have a long line. Enjoy watching kids with their gaping mouths staring at the pastries display. The line moves quickly and it's worth the wait. I recommend the Gringo Burrito with green chili sause.
4. FIESTA’S NEW MEXICAN CAFE & CANTINA (EDWARDS)
There are plenty of Mexican restaurants in the valley, but most are rather mediocre in my opinion. Beyond a few truly authentic holes-in-the-walls, Fiesta's New Mexican Cafe & Cantina is a standout. Don't be frightened by dishes such as Mexican Chicken Fried Steak, it's my favorite, along with the "natural" margarita.
5. Loaded Joes (AVON)
Nestled in the retail area of Avon, Loaded Joes has a great combination of variety, atmosphere, and draft beer. Most of the menu looks like casual fare, but there's a twist.... homemade sauces, sweet potato fries, and buns flown in from Philadelphia for their cheese steak sandwiches – thus I recommend the Colorado beef philly cheese steak.
BONUS Recommendation! The route 6 cafe (EAGLE-Vail)
No list would be complete without mentioning The Route 6 Cafe. Ozzie the proprietor is a local institution and he takes great pride in his restaurant and lounge. The restaurant used to be located down the street and operated out of a gas station. The move, a few years ago, permitted more space, longer hours, and a lounge. The food, which includes basic pub grub, also has a number of higher-end dishes such as Argentine skirt steak with chimichurri sauce. Enjoy! I recommend